Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco father recalls short but 'great' life of son, Robby Russell, killed by crash

Robby Russell, 16, died a day after he lost control of his Mustang and hit two cars on Moon Lake Road. He was running errands.

Courtesy of Russell family

Robby Russell, 16, died a day after he lost control of his Mustang and hit two cars on Moon Lake Road. He was running errands.

MOON LAKE — An hour and a half after the last bell on the last day of school, Robby Russell drove his black, two-door Mustang down Moon Lake Road. His friend Zachary Kersey, 15, was in the passenger seat. It was June 3, and Robby, 16, was doing errands for his parents. He paid the power bill. He was headed to his dad's auto shop to pick up a carburetor to deliver to a customer.

Robby passed slow traffic by using the dirt shoulder on the right, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. When he merged back on the road, he lost control, slid into the oncoming lane and crashed into two cars.

Robby and Zachary were flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. Another driver was treated at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

Robby died a little after 6 p.m. the next day. He was going to be a sophomore next year at River Ridge.

In the past, he talked with his dad, Rick Russell, about wanting to be an organ donor if something were to happen to him. His kidneys were transplanted into two people in the Tampa Bay area. Rick wishes more organs could have been donated, because that's what his son would have wanted.

"Robby was phenomenal," Rick said. "He made people feel comfortable."

Rick said Zachary is home from the hospital and sore, but doing okay. He said the other driver was treated and released the night of the accident.

Rick got Robby the 1982 Mustang last year, just before Robby turned 16. He traded a truck for it.

The car wasn't in good shape, but Robby kept working on it. He planned to spend this summer rebuilding the engine. Robby loved his car and motorcycles and girls.

Rick warned him about being safe on the road, but he still felt like Robby didn't understand how quickly a person could lose control of a car. Robby raced motocross. He had been around cars and bikes for years.

Days after the accident, Rick went to the lot where Robby's car is being held. He needed to get his son's belongings.

Rick's body shook going there, but once he saw the car — and how damaged it was — all he felt was relief. He thanked God that Zachary and the others in the accident weren't severely injured. It could have been so much worse.

"Robby never could have lived with himself if he hurt someone," Rick said.

The driver's side was demolished, he said. Robby was likely brain-dead on impact, Rick said. He doesn't believe Robby was in pain or suffered.

Robby's memorial service was Sunday at home. Rick said 300 people came; many were kids and teachers. As Rick listened to their stories — of Robby's kindness, of how his positive spirit rubbed off on others — Rick felt thankful for the people who loved his son and for the time he had with Robby. As his father, he felt so proud of Robby.

"It was short," Rick said, "but he had a great life."

Times researcher Will Gorham contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com.

Robertt "Robby" Russell

June 23, 1992, to June 4, 2009: Robertt is survived by his parents, Richard and Dawn Russell of New Port Richey; brothers, Curtis Wicks, 24; Ricky Russell, 18; Randy Russell, 13; and sister, Cheryl Meadows, 25.

.

Pasco father recalls short but 'great' life of son, Robby Russell, killed by crash 06/09/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 8:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. World reacts to horror, disbelief to deadly Manchester arena bombing

    Public Safety

    The world is reacting in horror and disbelief after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, ended in bloodshed and chaos Monday night.

    Crowds of people wait outside after police avacuated the Arndale Centre on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England.  An explosion occurred at Manchester Arena as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had performed. [Christopher Furlong | Getty Images]
  2. Longest-serving James Bond star Roger Moore dead at 89

    Obituaries

    LONDON — Roger Moore, the suavely insouciant star of seven James Bond films, has died in Switzerland. He was 89.

    This 2011 photo of British actor Sir Roger Moore as he arrives at the Monaco palace for the religious wedding ceremony of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Princess of Monaco. Roger Moore's family said Tuesday that the  former James Bond star has died after a short battle with cancer. [Associated Press]
  3. Car fire stalls traffic on Memorial Highway, Courtney Campbell Causeway

    Fire

    A car fire on Memorial Highway in Tampa near the airport was clogging traffic Tuesday morning, with delays reaching the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

  4. L.A. delay could re-open Super Bowl chance for Tampa in 2021

    Blogs

    Construction delays on the NFL's new stadium in Los Angeles mean the Rams and Chargers won't be playing there until 2020, a year later than expected, and the ripple effect could give Tampa another chance at landing a Super Bowl in February 2021.

    Tampa and Raymond James Stadium last hosted a Super Bowl in 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.
  5. Will Brad Culpepper win it all on Wednesday's 'Survivor' finale?

    The Feed

    Heading into Wednesday's finale of Survivor: Game Changers, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Brad Culpepper said his fans need to know there are still plays to make before the end zone.

    "The Tables Have Turned" - Brad Culpepper, Tai Trang and Hali Ford on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment